Starting on the 23rd of September 2015, I will be doing a three month long program called a Bible Core Course or BCC in Hong Kong at the YWAM Tuen Mun base. If you want to really explore this course and the base that is offering it, you can follow this link to their website: http://ywamtuenmun.org/wp/?page_id=28
Basically it is a “program designed to give you a thorough understanding of the inductive approach to Bible study by learning how to use many creative and diverse methods for reading, interpreting and applying the Scriptures.”
I know I will be exceptionally busy with my studies, but I also really hope to serve whenever possible with Urban Nexus. Urban Nexus is a ministry established by members of the YWAM Tuen Mun base. Through food distribution, visiting the elderly, disabled, and low income families, prison outreach, and campus outreach, this ministry aims to answer the issues of poverty in Hong Kong in a practical way, while maintaing the goal to promote a sense of belonging, security and value through regular visits and performances that will bring a message of peace and hope.
Another aspect of the YWAM Tuen Mun base that I am really excited about is their focus on reaching the lost through the performing arts and media. I have a Bachelor of Arts with a triple major in English Literature, Film, and Theater, so even if being at this base simply means I will get to engage with other people who have those same skills and want to use them to serve God and others, I think that is super duper exciting!
I feel like the question I get asked the most when I share with people what I am doing and where I am going is: “what made you choose that?” Most the time I respond with a sort of simple structured response about liking Hong Kong or wanting to be at a base that cares about the arts. Those things are definitely important factors, but they also aren’t the whole truth. Really, most the time I am afraid that a truly honest answer will lead people to give me that ‘oh, so you are crazy’ look. Now that I have the forum to better explain it, and I also don’t have to worry about seeing anyone’s facial expressions in person, here is the whole story behind me going to Hong Kong to do a BCC:
When I was first applying to Discipleship Training School (DTS) programs, I definitely felt some sort of connection with YWAM Tuen Mun, because of the focus this base has on reaching people through the arts. Even after I started my DTS in Denver, I had it in the back of my mind that maybe God would someday call me to YWAM Tuen Mun for something else. When I found out that for outreach my team would be visiting Hong Kong, this feeling increased even more.
During DTS we were told to ask God what He has planned our calling to be. I have always enjoyed a multitude of different things, writing being one of them. When I first asked God about my calling He told me quite simply to just focus on the now and that He would tell me when I needed to know. He is teaching me to better trust and rely on Him. Then, one day during quiet time, I was starting to zone out into my own thoughts a little bit, when a clear, concise voice cut across my own slow, twirly thinking. The voice said “If you want to be a writer you need to know My Word.” I stopped, looked around, and then prayed, asking God to confirm that it was Him who had just spoken. I looked down at the book I was reading and the very next line was Jeremiah 29:11 – “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” It was the first time I had ever read that verse.
Now, even before I became a believer, the Bible always fascinated me. When I was a child, I had a kid’s Bible that lived in my playhouse, and I loved reading the stories. When I was at University, and I was an adamant atheist, one of my projects was putting together excerpts from the Song of Solomon to create a theatrical prologue to the play “Salome” by Oscar Wilde. While neither of those performances featured sound theology or a good Christian message, I was given the role of Assistant Director and Dramaturge for the play, so I spent hours reading and researching the Bible. At another point in time, I spent a large amount of time reading through Revelations because I had a dream about it and thought maybe I would find something useful for a potential film script in its writings. Even when I thought God wasn’t real, He was drawing me into His word, and developing in me a passion for His promises.
So step one was revealed. God desired me to study His word. But where? When? How? Now even more questions raced around my mind, but again God told me to trust and wait.
One afternoon during class, when my outreach team was in France, we all were told to pray and ask God what He had for us next and see what He revealed. As I prayed to Him, God gave me a series of pictures. He showed me scenes from every place I had lived thus far. At the end of this sequence, He showed me a flower and a tropical island. That was my next location. I was super confused. I spent hours Googling Bible courses on Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, etc, but none of them had the right island look or flower. I most certainly did not think of Hong Kong, because in my mind Hong Kong was just a huge, bustling, urban city.
When my team arrived in Nepal, I started to get very anxious. It was almost the end of outreach, the only country we had left was Hong Kong, and I still had no idea where God wanted me to go once the DTS was finished. I was praying about it, and then I got an e-mail from YWAM Tuen Mun. I hadn’t heard from anyone at this base since April. The message was just checking in to see what I had ended up doing after I found out that the dates for the Performing Arts DTS didn’t work with my schedule. Once again, I did some Googling, and found out that YWAM Tuen Mun had a Bible Core Course. The base that focuses on performing arts, as in what my degree is in, also had a Bible course? It seemed totally perfect, but I was still not 100% sold because I was stuck on the whole tropical island image God had given me.
Then I finally arrived in Hong Kong with my outreach mission team. One day as I was admiring the beautiful city, thinking about how crazy it is that such a huge urban setting can have such a gorgeous tropical backdrop, I was like “man, this looks just like the picture God gave me… AHH! THIS LOOKS JUST LIKE THE PICTURE GOD GAVE ME!” It finally clicked! I even found the flower one day as we walked through a local park.
As if that wasn’t all enough confirmation, one day at work when I was feeling a bit discouraged and doubtful, a guest came up to me, and completely out of the blue, without me even mentioning my plans, asked me if I would maybe want some left over money he had from Hong Kong.
When I think about how clearly God has spoken to me concerning coming to Hong Kong, I almost break down and stop being able to function. Who am I that the Almighty Creator of the Universe should reveal His plans to me and bless me with such clarity??? I am so overwhelmed by His great love, I sometimes fear my chest might burst from being too full of joy!
So the real reason why I am heading to Hong Kong for this school is because I know that it is what God wants me to do! And of course His decisions are always the best ones possible!
I am so excited to see what God has for me during this next season. While I am not too sure how great the internet will be while I am away, I will try to post once a week and share with you all the things I am learning and discovering. I will also use these posts to share prayer requests. Right now I would really appreciate prayer for safe travels, good health, an abundance of energy, trusting God with the well-being of all my family and friends while I am away, and focusing on Him even when there are plenty of other cool things going on that could potentially distract me. Before I start the BCC I will be doing a 12 day tour around Beijing and Xi’an. I am really excited for this trip, but I also could use prayer for discerning how much of my plans and faith I can safely share with others while in Mainland China.
Glory to God for this amazing opportunity! May He bless each one of you on each of your own journeys too. Thank you so much for reading, for praying, and for supporting me during this next season.
“Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.” -Ephesians 6:19-20